Cluj-Napoca crowd reminded Stefan Bircevic of Partizan

2022-04-06T13:30:28+00:00 2022-04-06T15:48:22+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

06/Apr/22 13:30

The fans packing BTarena sent Stefan Bircevic down memory lane and back to his playing days at Partizan NIS

By Eurohoops Team/

Former Partizan NIS power forward Stefan Bircevic talked to MozzartSport about U-BT Cluj-Napoca’s Cinderella run in the 2021-22 edition of the Basketball Champions League and being one win away from participating in the Final Four of FIBA’s top European club competition.

“We became the first team from Romania to reach the Quarterfinals. The arena was expected to be full. I think this is the first time the arena was full for any indoor sport,” he mentioned during the conversation following his side’s triumph versus MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in front of 10,000 fans in BTarena Tuesday, “I remembered playing for Partizan. From my point of view, it was not a unique experience.”

The crowd support combined with the experience of the Cluj-Napoca players was the difference-maker, especially down the stretch in Game 1 of the BCL Quarterfinals best-of-three series.

Bircevic, 32, connecting a couple of daggers went for 13 points to go along with four rebounds and two assists in just over 30 minutes. The Romania champions would advance to the Final Four with a second win either next week in Germany or back at home in a potential Game 3.

The Partizan days stretching through a couple of separate stints in 2016-17 and 2019-20 concluded with the experienced forward helping win the 2020 Triglav osiguranje Radivoj Korac Cup. Other previous teams include Frutti Extra Bursaspor, Telekom Baskets Bonn, and Movistar Estudiantes.

Romania was added to his career map in 2021. Joining the team based in Cluj-Napoca coincided with the departure of experienced tactician Dusko Vujosevic, who paved the way for current success, as credited by Bircevic.

The team led by Mihai Silvasan needed to first earn a place in the 2021-22 Regular Season by surviving an early-season eight-team tournament in Greece. From there it was landing first place in Group G of the Regular Season and first again in Group K of the Round of 16 before the best-of-three series opposite Ludwigsburg.

Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League